Spolana management stripped of powers following chlorine leaks
A third degree chemical alert was announced on Friday in the town of Neratovice near Prague following an accident at the Spolana chemical plant in which several hundred kilograms of poisonous chlorine gas leaked into the air. This was the second leak in ten days and both times several hundred kilograms of chlorine were released. On top of that around 80 tons of fluid chlorine leaked into the river Elbe during the floods. Pavla Horakova has more.
On Saturday Interior Minister Stanislav Gross stripped Spolana's management of their powers following widespread criticism of their poor handling of the situation. Spolana's parent company Unipetrol will now run operations at the plant. Pavel Svarc is the chief executive officer of Unipetrol. He says the situation at Spolana is now under control.
Friday's accident claimed no human casualties and experts say the concentration of chlorine did not pose any threat to the health of people in the area. However wild plants and also crops in the fields surrounding the plant were damaged or killed as the gas burnt their leaves. Local farmers will not be able to grow anything on the contaminated fields for many years. Local authorities in the area are considering calling on the management of the plant to resign. They also want the plant to introduce tougher security measures and improve the alert system. Not only is the plant is a cause for concern for the Czech Republic, neighbouring Germany too, is worried as the river Elbe may bring hazardous chemical waste from Spolana into the country.